Mixed blessings: Women and blonde hair

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Druann Maria Heckert


Blonde women constitute a curious and interesting case- in the context of deviance-in that they are to some extent positive deviants , due to the fact that they have been considered as surpassing normative expectations of appearance and have received some positive evaluation and treatment. Yet, they have also been subject to stigmatization, or negative evaluation and treatment. Thus, the reaction has not been consistent. Qualitative research served as the basis for this study; twenty blonde women were interviewed. Firstly, in some respects, blonde women are positive deviants; they have been idealized in Western traditions and thus encounter positive evaluations. The blonde women interviewed for this study were cognizant of this fact and reported that positive attention and positive treatment were common experiences. Nevertheless, blonde women are also recipients of negative evaluations. The blonde women in this sample analyzed the culturally constructed stereotypes that have been applied to them, as follows: innocence, sexy/fun, easy and dumbness/stupidity. They also presented strategies that they had to develop to deal with the last stereotype, which included the following: ignoring the stereotype or joking about it, self-fulfilling the prophecy, overcompensating (including taking on the ice princess role), fighting back, and passing. Also, blonde women felt that their relationships with other women were negatively impacted by their hair color. In essence, blonde women experience mixed evaluations.

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